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Leprosy in Buriticupu, state of Maranhão: active search in the general population

Hanseníase no município de Buriticupu, estado do Maranhão: busca ativa na população geral

INTRODUCTION: This study was developed to evaluate the situation of leprosy in the general population of the municipality of Buriticupu, State of Maranhão, Brazil. METHODS: We used the method of active search to identify new cases from 2008 to 2010. Bacilloscopy of intradermal scrapings was performed in all patients with skin lesions compatible with leprosy, and histopathological examination in those who had doubts on the definition of the clinical form. RESULTS: The study included 19,104 individuals, with 42 patients diagnosed with leprosy after clinical examination, representing a detection rate of 219.84 per 100,000 inhabitants. The predominant clinical presentation was tuberculoid with 24 (57.1%) cases, followed by borderline with 11, indeterminate with four, and lepromatous with three cases. The study also allowed the identification of 81 patients with a history of leprosy and other skin diseases, such as pityriasis versicolor, dermatophytosis, scabies, vitiligo, and skin carcinoma. The binomial test showed that the proportion of cases in the headquarters was significantly higher than that in the villages (p = 0.04), and the generalized exact test showed that there was no association between age and clinical form (p = 0.438) and between age and gender (p = 0.083). CONCLUSIONS: The elevated detection rate defines the city as hyperendemic for leprosy; the active search for cases, as well as the organization of health services, is an important method for disease control.

Leprosy; Detection; Active search; State of Maranhão

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